September 15, 2014
Nikita Khrushchev visiting Bulgaria in 1962, photographed by Dmitri Baltermants: seen in The Photographer’s Gallery at an exhibition about early Russian colour photography. 

There’s nothing like going to a gallery about photography to encourage one to make photographs…

#Khrushchev #Communism #Russia #PhotographersGallery #exhibition #Marxism #instagram #picoftheday #thomdavies #Bulgaria

Nikita Khrushchev visiting Bulgaria in 1962, photographed by Dmitri Baltermants: seen in The Photographer’s Gallery at an exhibition about early Russian colour photography.

There’s nothing like going to a gallery about photography to encourage one to make photographs…

#Khrushchev #Communism #Russia #PhotographersGallery #exhibition #Marxism #instagram #picoftheday #thomdavies #Bulgaria

September 15, 2014
Putting words with photographs, especially quotations from interviews, can often change the meaning of an image. I was reminded of this recently when I visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London to see an exhibition about early Russian colour photography (reviewed by Lewis Bush here). Not least due to my ignorance of Russian photographic history, it was not until I read the captions, titles and image-descriptions that the photographs made sense; words changed their meanings.
 I have hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with people who live near Chernobyl in Ukraine. They sit transcribed on my laptop, slowly working their way into my PhD thesis. I have started working on a small project called Chernobyl Interiors that matches some of these quotations with photographs I made in the intimate spaces of the participants’ houses around the Exclusion Zone.
The photographs, like the one above are nothing special; they are rather banal interior shots of the homes I was invited into. But put next to quotations from people who live in these houses and they are transformed – perhaps even seen differently.
Susan Sontag – one of the more prominent scholars of photography – said “Photographs – and quotations – seem, because they are taken to be pieces of reality, more authentic than extended literary narratives”. There is an advantage of only seeing (or reading) a snapshot of a complex story; it discards the clutter and complexities of everyday life, distilling and framing a message to the viewer in a particular way. But with this comes its own set of problems. Photographs hide as much than they reveal: at best - sanitizing reality - at worst – changing it.
Photography, perhaps more than any other medium of communication, lays bare what Feminist-theorist Donna Haraway calls our ‘positionality’: The idea that all knowledge – be it contained within a photograph or in academic discourse - is created by individuals who are ‘situated’ with their own subjective perspectives and embedded within power structures that influence the creation of that situated knowledge.
Moreover, photography contains a unique disconnect - that photographs can simultaneously be both ‘fact’ and ‘subjection’. There is an unresolved tension between photography’s use to document ‘data’ (crime scenes, mugshots, war photojournalism, ‘evidence’ etc.), and the highly positioned nature of each photograph being a personal and curated slice of reality: each time a photographer raises the camera to their face to frame a picture they make a subjective choice.
Street photographer Garry Winogrand once commented on photography that “putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it”, and of course the same can be said about a quote from an interview. Instead of four edges we use quotation marks, composing the spoken word from a choice of baggier utterances, leaving unwanted information outside the verbal frame.
In Chernobyl Interiors I want to be reflexive about this process, as both the images and quotes have been framed by my situated self. This is in contrast to my other Chernobyl project Disposable Citizens, in which people were given disposable film cameras to document their own lives and give their own view of their world. 
 The title of the exhibition I visited on early Russian colour photography was ‘Primrose’. I did not understand the significance of this until I watched an interview with the curator Olga Sviblova. She explained that Primroses are often the first flowers to bloom in the thaw of Spring after the long snow-covered darkness of Russian winters. They bring colour into Russia’s monochrome landscape. “Its like the sun arriving from the earth” she said, and with those words, it made sense.

Putting words with photographs, especially quotations from interviews, can often change the meaning of an image. I was reminded of this recently when I visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London to see an exhibition about early Russian colour photography (reviewed by Lewis Bush here). Not least due to my ignorance of Russian photographic history, it was not until I read the captions, titles and image-descriptions that the photographs made sense; words changed their meanings.

 I have hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with people who live near Chernobyl in Ukraine. They sit transcribed on my laptop, slowly working their way into my PhD thesis. I have started working on a small project called Chernobyl Interiors that matches some of these quotations with photographs I made in the intimate spaces of the participants’ houses around the Exclusion Zone.

The photographs, like the one above are nothing special; they are rather banal interior shots of the homes I was invited into. But put next to quotations from people who live in these houses and they are transformed – perhaps even seen differently.

Susan Sontag – one of the more prominent scholars of photography – said “Photographs – and quotations – seem, because they are taken to be pieces of reality, more authentic than extended literary narratives”. There is an advantage of only seeing (or reading) a snapshot of a complex story; it discards the clutter and complexities of everyday life, distilling and framing a message to the viewer in a particular way. But with this comes its own set of problems. Photographs hide as much than they reveal: at best - sanitizing reality - at worst – changing it.

Photography, perhaps more than any other medium of communication, lays bare what Feminist-theorist Donna Haraway calls our ‘positionality’: The idea that all knowledge – be it contained within a photograph or in academic discourse - is created by individuals who are ‘situated’ with their own subjective perspectives and embedded within power structures that influence the creation of that situated knowledge.

Moreover, photography contains a unique disconnect - that photographs can simultaneously be both ‘fact’ and ‘subjection’. There is an unresolved tension between photography’s use to document ‘data’ (crime scenes, mugshots, war photojournalism, ‘evidence’ etc.), and the highly positioned nature of each photograph being a personal and curated slice of reality: each time a photographer raises the camera to their face to frame a picture they make a subjective choice.

Street photographer Garry Winogrand once commented on photography that “putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it”, and of course the same can be said about a quote from an interview. Instead of four edges we use quotation marks, composing the spoken word from a choice of baggier utterances, leaving unwanted information outside the verbal frame.

In Chernobyl Interiors I want to be reflexive about this process, as both the images and quotes have been framed by my situated self. This is in contrast to my other Chernobyl project Disposable Citizens, in which people were given disposable film cameras to document their own lives and give their own view of their world. 

 The title of the exhibition I visited on early Russian colour photography was ‘Primrose’. I did not understand the significance of this until I watched an interview with the curator Olga Sviblova. She explained that Primroses are often the first flowers to bloom in the thaw of Spring after the long snow-covered darkness of Russian winters. They bring colour into Russia’s monochrome landscape. “Its like the sun arriving from the earth” she said, and with those words, it made sense.

September 13, 2014
Who said #Socialism was dead? Lenin and Engles plastered on a wall in Balsall Heath, Birmingham: UK

#Communism #Graffiti #Lenin #somecities #Birmingham #BalsallHeath #Engles #Marx #revolution #marxism #picoftheday #mobilephotography  #iphoneography #thomdavies #politics

Who said #Socialism was dead? Lenin and Engles plastered on a wall in Balsall Heath, Birmingham: UK

#Communism #Graffiti #Lenin #somecities #Birmingham #BalsallHeath #Engles #Marx #revolution #marxism #picoftheday #mobilephotography #iphoneography #thomdavies #politics

September 8, 2014
Washing hanging on the line and the last faint gulps of summer, in Birmingham: UK #somecities #Birmingham #washing #summer #picoftheday #mobilephotography #iphoneography #thomdavies #shadow

Washing hanging on the line and the last faint gulps of summer, in Birmingham: UK #somecities #Birmingham #washing #summer #picoftheday #mobilephotography #iphoneography #thomdavies #shadow

August 26, 2014
Staring out across the largest city in the world. Tokyo is endless 

#japan #landscape #view #urbanlandscape #city #tokyo #tourism #horizon #thomdavies #picoftheday #mobilephotography  #iphoneography #window

Staring out across the largest city in the world. Tokyo is endless

#japan #landscape #view #urbanlandscape #city #tokyo #tourism #horizon #thomdavies #picoftheday #mobilephotography #iphoneography #window

August 25, 2014
The world’s largest city stretches to the horizon: Tokyo.

#Japan #urbanlandscape #tokyo #landscape #Shinjuku #tokyo #view #instagram #picoftheday

The world’s largest city stretches to the horizon: Tokyo.

#Japan #urbanlandscape #tokyo #landscape #Shinjuku #tokyo #view #instagram #picoftheday

August 25, 2014
The tide is out at the Miyajima shrine in Japan

#Miyajima #japan #HitoshimaPrefecture #Hiroshima #tourism #picoftheday #instagram #mobilephotography #thomdavies #child #sea

The tide is out at the Miyajima shrine in Japan

#Miyajima #japan #HitoshimaPrefecture #Hiroshima #tourism #picoftheday #instagram #mobilephotography #thomdavies #child #sea

August 23, 2014
A deer and a kimono near Kyoto. Japan is wonderful 
#deer #japan #kimono #Kyoto #picoftheday #instagram #thomdavies #animal #tradition #Nippon #日本国

A deer and a kimono near Kyoto. Japan is wonderful
#deer #japan #kimono #Kyoto #picoftheday #instagram #thomdavies #animal #tradition #Nippon #日本国

August 16, 2014
Near the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, a Japanese war veteran stands in front of a memorial to the 5000 Kamikaze pilots who died during WW2. Sixty nine years after the end of the war, the idea of suicide bombing has a whole new meaning.  

#yasukuni #kamikaze #ww2 #memorial #veteran #japan #tokyo #suicide #suicidebombing #picoftheday #instagram #mobilephotography #thomdavies #memorial

Near the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, a Japanese war veteran stands in front of a memorial to the 5000 Kamikaze pilots who died during WW2. Sixty nine years after the end of the war, the idea of suicide bombing has a whole new meaning.

#yasukuni #kamikaze #ww2 #memorial #veteran #japan #tokyo #suicide #suicidebombing #picoftheday #instagram #mobilephotography #thomdavies #memorial

August 15, 2014
Minute of silence observed at the (geopolitically) controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Today marks 69 years since the defeat of Japan in WW2.

#Yasukuni #shrine #memorial #WW2 #japan #tokyo #flag #picoftheday #mobilephotography  #iphoneography #thomdavies #war

Minute of silence observed at the (geopolitically) controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Today marks 69 years since the defeat of Japan in WW2.

#Yasukuni #shrine #memorial #WW2 #japan #tokyo #flag #picoftheday #mobilephotography #iphoneography #thomdavies #war

August 12, 2014
A Fukushima evacuee demonstrates his homemade radiation dosimeter at a community centre in Japan. Using his Ipad he links his radiation measurements to Safecast.org who map radiation across Japan.

 “The price of dosimeters shot up right after the disaster, so we decided to make our own. We measured the places in our house and we realized that the radiation was highest close to the windows, so we washed the windows….We took dosimeter to our parents houses, and found they had much higher levels of radiation because they were older houses - built of wood and straw – so they absorbed more radiation.”

#radiation #japan #Fukushima #dosimeter #SafeCast #Tokyo #HumanGeography #contamination #nuclear #disaster #3/11 #instagram #picoftheday #mobilephotography #thomdavies #geiger

A Fukushima evacuee demonstrates his homemade radiation dosimeter at a community centre in Japan. Using his Ipad he links his radiation measurements to Safecast.org who map radiation across Japan.

“The price of dosimeters shot up right after the disaster, so we decided to make our own. We measured the places in our house and we realized that the radiation was highest close to the windows, so we washed the windows….We took dosimeter to our parents houses, and found they had much higher levels of radiation because they were older houses - built of wood and straw – so they absorbed more radiation.”

#radiation #japan #Fukushima #dosimeter #SafeCast #Tokyo #HumanGeography #contamination #nuclear #disaster #3/11 #instagram #picoftheday #mobilephotography #thomdavies #geiger

August 7, 2014
Talking about Chernobyl with a Fukushima evacuee in a café in Tokyo. I showed her photographs of an evacuee who I met near the border of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine.

#humangeography #visualgeography #tokyo #fukushima #radiation #evacuation #evacuee #picoftheday #iphoneography #ukraine #japan

Talking about Chernobyl with a Fukushima evacuee in a café in Tokyo. I showed her photographs of an evacuee who I met near the border of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine.

#humangeography #visualgeography #tokyo #fukushima #radiation #evacuation #evacuee #picoftheday #iphoneography #ukraine #japan

August 4, 2014
Sitting on a tatami floor, a man holds mushrooms he gathered from the forests near his Onsen-hotel [Хот-Спрингс баня] in Fukushima prefecture.  “Life has been so much harder for me after the nuclear accident…” he says, explaining how the stigma of Fukushima has damaged his business, “people used to come here to fish in the rivers and collect wild mushrooms, but I’ve only had one booking for mushroom picking this year”. 

If our glasses of Sake on the table were replaced with vodka moonshine [самогон], this could be Chernobyl.

#mushrooms #radiation #Fukushima #Japan #Chernobyl #HumanGeography #fungi #risk #TeamGeography #picoftheday #iphoneography #disaster #thomdavies #tatami

Sitting on a tatami floor, a man holds mushrooms he gathered from the forests near his Onsen-hotel [Хот-Спрингс баня] in Fukushima prefecture. “Life has been so much harder for me after the nuclear accident…” he says, explaining how the stigma of Fukushima has damaged his business, “people used to come here to fish in the rivers and collect wild mushrooms, but I’ve only had one booking for mushroom picking this year”.

If our glasses of Sake on the table were replaced with vodka moonshine [самогон], this could be Chernobyl.

#mushrooms #radiation #Fukushima #Japan #Chernobyl #HumanGeography #fungi #risk #TeamGeography #picoftheday #iphoneography #disaster #thomdavies #tatami

August 3, 2014
Showers and sunshine in a beautiful village in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The electricity pylon on the hillside remind me why I am here.

#fukushima #japan #power #thatch #clouds #picoftheday #instagram #pylon #electricity #nuclear #thomdavies #iphoneography

Showers and sunshine in a beautiful village in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The electricity pylon on the hillside remind me why I am here.

#fukushima #japan #power #thatch #clouds #picoftheday #instagram #pylon #electricity #nuclear #thomdavies #iphoneography

August 1, 2014
I love photo studio shops in Japan

#japan #portrait #shop #studio #picoftheday #instagram #thomdavies #iphoneography #monochrome

I love photo studio shops in Japan

#japan #portrait #shop #studio #picoftheday #instagram #thomdavies #iphoneography #monochrome

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